Career, Technical Education Continues Evolution
February 21, 2012
From ashlandcurrent.com: “Career, Technical Education Continues Evolution” — Career and Technical Education Month strikes a special cord with Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College this year as the college also celebrates its centennial.
Business instructor Mike Bark has been at WITC for more than a third of its existence. He has seen plenty of change since 1976, and he thinks WITC has been able to respond the evolving needs of the community it serves.
Even the basics of teaching have improved over the years, Bark says. While the traditional classroom lecture is still mainstay of college education, WITC has expanded the way it provides education. From distance learning via IP video to online teaching, WITC offers a variety of learning methods to complement the lifestyles of its diverse student body.
“Having students from broader geographic areas and students with greater diversity of ages, education level and life experiences enriches the classroom,” Bark said. “It is not uncommon to have students in our classes that are youth options students, individuals that are unemployed, underemployed or soon-to-be retirees. It is also not uncommon to have students with bachelor’s and in some cases master’s degrees attending WITC with the intent to learn a new skill or marketable trade to improve their employability.”
Bark has also witnessed an increase in rigor of the faculty. While all the faculty have career experience in the field they teach, that used to be enough. Now, faculty are required to have a master’s degree in the field they teach, and they’re encourage to continuously expand their knowledge and skills through staff development.
“While some things have changed, there are many things that have not, such as having our students as the number one reason why we are here,” Bark said. “And we continue to work with our local employers and graduates … to determine changing market trends, training needs, employment demands, effects of technology, etc. And that our instruction incorporates hands-on and relevant learning experiences.”